Meuse (river)

The Maas at Laifour in the French Ardennes

The Meuse ( Mosa in Latin, French Meuse, Walloon Mouze on Mao Limburg and Dutch Maas ) is an approximately 874 km long river that flows through France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Meuse flows into the southern main stream of the Rhine - Meuse delta and thus belongs to the river system of the Rhine. The Meuse is, according to the Aare River, the second richest in water and far longest tributary of the Rhine.

  • 6.1 France
  • 6.2 The Netherlands, Belgium

River course

The Meuse rises to 409 m in Pouilly -en- Bassigny in the municipality of Le Châtelet -sur -Meuse ( department of Haute- Marne) on the plateau of Langres. After her long headwaters in France it crosses below the picturesque Engtals within Belgium through the Ardennes, the cities of Namur and Liege, and then happened in the Netherlands the cities of Maastricht, Roermond and Venlo. From Borg Haren at Maastricht to about height Maasbracht forms the Maas ( here called Grensmaas ) the boundary between the provinces of Belgian Limburg and Dutch Limburg. The Grensmaas is not navigable between Borg Haren and Maaseik. The waterway runs over the parallel run Juliana. The Maas then turns west and forms the border between the Dutch provinces of Gelderland to the north, North Brabant in the south.

Since 1904, the Meuse flows through an artificially created drainage path, called Bergse Maas and Amer, in the former North Sea bay Hollands Diep. Prior to the main part of the Meuse water flowed into the main branch of the Rhine delta, the Waal. Since the construction of the dam in 1970 Haring Vliet also Hollands Diep and Haring Vliet have become sections of the southern Rhine - Waal on the main arm and Nieuwe Merwede. The water of the Meuse and the Rhine reached since reunited the sea, at low water mainly via the New Waterway to Rotterdam, in high water primarily through the locks of the Haringvliet dam.

  • Changes to the Maas History

Since 1904 to protect against flooding of the river Waal separate ( afgedamde ) Maas

The Maasplassen

The Maas lakes (Dutch Maasplassen, . Niederl of plas for ponds ) are lakes in the Belgian- Dutch Limburg region, caused by the operated on a large scale mining of gravel mid-20th century. After the great flood mid-20th century ( Holland storm surge ) of coastal levees and protection weirs ( Delta Works ) as well as for embankments (polders) in the provinces of Zeeland and Noord -Holland were enormous construction projects in the area of ​​large quantities of sand and gravel for required for concrete production and landfills.

Mouth area

The mouth region of the Meuse forms with that of the Rhine, the Rhine-Meuse delta. In Cuijk the Maas- Waal canal branches off from reaching the main branch of the Rhine near Nijmegen.

The landscape of the mouth region is largely below the level of the sea. In previous centuries changed after almost every severe storm surge or flood situation on the Meuse and Waal their appearance and thus the course of the rivers and streams.

From Heusden the Meuse flows as Bergse Maas in a dug bed, which follows the former Bach Oude Maasje to the west. It dissolved in 1904 from the north-west facing, existing since 1273 and now Afgedamde Maas said river course.

The Maas reached Amer together with the left continuation of the Waal, the twice as much water leading Nieuwe Merwede, the Hollands Diep. This former sea bay and its sequel, the Haring Vliet, today are freshwater lakes, as the locks of the Haringvliet dam are opened only at higher water levels of the Rhine. Overall, the distribution of water in the Rhine -Meuse delta is carefully controlled, especially depending on the water levels of the Rhine at Lobith at the German - Dutch border. So at medium and low water levels crosses the most Rhine water below the confluence of the Meuse nor the urban areas of Dordrecht and Rotterdam, before it reaches the open sea.

The designation of waters in the Rhine-Meuse delta has remained largely unaffected by the until now much altered drainage ways. Because of once more northerly trending Rhine were many present-day Rhine River erstwhile lower courses of the Meuse River from the south, such as the Nieuwe Maas and Oude Maas.

Catchment and water data

The catchment area of the French upper reaches of the hills of Lorraine ( around 30 % of the total catchment area ) is elongated and narrow, which counteracts extreme flood peaks, as well as the often water-storing rocks. In contrast, the Belgian part ( around 40 %) drains the rainy Ardennes with many rich gradient tributaries, which increases the flood hazard of the Meuse. On the border with the Netherlands (at the level Borg Haren ) the Meuse runs around 260 m³ / s of water. In the Netherlands, the terrain is almost flat. At its mouth the river Maas dehydrated with a water flow of about 357 m³ / s, a catchment area of approximately 33,000 km ². In the lower part of the boundaries of the catchment area are drawn inconsistently. Sometimes the edge regions of Hollands Diep and Haring Vliet included, but are passed through essentially of Rhine water are ( see also flow system of the Rhine ). Consequently, there are lengths reported about 874 km (rounded 875 km ) beyond.


Left tributaries:

Rights tributaries:

  • Flambart
  • Mouzon
  • Vair
  • Aroffe
  • Chiers
  • Semois
  • Lesse
  • Bocq
  • Samson
  • Hoyoux
  • Ourthe
  • Berwijn / Berwinne
  • Voer / Fouron
  • Göhl ( Geul / gueule )
  • Rur ( Roer )
  • Nier
  • Schwalm

Cities on the Meuse

  • Neufchâteau
  • Verdun
  • Sedan
  • Charleville- Mézières
  • Dinant
  • Namur
  • Huy
  • Liege
  • Maastricht
  • Roermond
  • Venlo
  • 'S- Hertogenbosch

Historical Aspects

The breakdown of the Frankish empire among the sons of Louis the Pious, the Maas became the border between the West Frankish kingdom under Charles the Bald and the middle kingdom under Lothar I.. Whose name derives from the geographical name Lorraine ago.

The money Rischen areas west of the Meuse joined Prussia at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the Kingdom of the United Netherlands from. They have since started the province of Limburg. Even today, the so-called canon firing line forms the border between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands. The east of the Meuse location of the then newly created and 1830 divided between Belgium and the Netherlands province of Limburg was despite Dutch sovereignty as a duchy of Limburg to the German Confederation. This is what the line "refers ... of the Maas to the Memel ... " the first verse of the song Germany from 1841, the third verse is the national anthem today. On January 2, 1926, measured 29.91 meters above NAP so far the highest water level of the river Meuse, which was about nine feet above the average water level.

At the upper reaches of the Maas River Domremy- la -Pucelle, birthplace of Joan of Arc.

The Maas influenced numerous military campaigns during the First and Second World Wars. For example, it was in the Battle of Verdun in February 1916, a major natural barrier, the impact on the front line or had at some portions, the front showed.



In the French section of the Meuse was channeled and contributes as a waterway named Canal de la Meuse (formerly Canal de l' Est - industry- Nord). The channel runs between the French-Belgian border at Givet and the place Troussey. Due to the dimensions of the locks and bridges it is only passable for Pénichen in Freycinet measure, as well as for sports and houseboats. In Dom- le- Mesnil between Charleville- Mézières and Sedan Canal des Ardennes branches off and follows after crossing the watershed at Le Chesne the Aisne to the Ile de France around Paris. Upward along the river Meuse is navigable to Troussey. Here the Marne au Rhin Canal de la crosses the river and connects it with westward and eastward Paris at Toul with the Moselle and the Rhine near Strasbourg with.

About the Mosel and further in the Canal des Vosges (formerly Canal de l' Est, industry- Sud) reach the Saône and the Rhône River, where you can get to the Mediterranean.

Recreational users from Northern Europe to take on their journey to the Mediterranean prefer this single route as the much larger and more sophisticated way around Spain.

Netherlands, Belgium

The Dutch and Belgian section of the Meuse is developed for bulk shipping and connected to a composite of other shipping channels, for example on the Albert Canal ( Liege -Antwerp; officially opened on 30 July 1939) south of Maastricht ( on Fort Eben -Emael ). In the Dutch section of a minimum water depth of three meters is guaranteed with a total of seven barrages. Since 1822 the Border Meuse, the river section between Maastricht (NL) and Kessenich (B ), no longer navigable. There, take the Shipping Maastricht to Maasbracht the parallel applied to the Meuse Juliana. Also shortened in the Netherlands Roermond the 8.9 km long side channel Lateraalkanal Linne - Buggenum between heel and the Buggenum ( there, however, navigable ) from Maas.